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This review is from: The Conservatives - A History (Hardcover)
As Philip Ziegler said in his recent review of the author's book on Margaret Thatcher, Robin Harris "has a low opinion of politicians". My goodness, it shows in this history of the Conservative Party.
Hardly a politician, in the 250 year history of the party, merits a favourable rating: Thatcher, of course; Salisbury and Bonar Law (mainly because he died quickly after becoming leader). Most get end-of-term reports of between C plus and C minus (Balfour;Eden;Heath).
In my view the author makes too little allowance for the demands of the job (whether PM or just leader) or the problems of governing without a majority or with a divided party- par for the course with the Tories!
Even Disraeli is subject to a constant flow of niggling criticism throughout and yet would we have a party in this form without him?
The Tories are one of the oldest and most successful political parties in World history. No one would think so on reading this.
Finally, I read this in Kindle form: accessing the notes and the index were a problem, so this is a rare occasion on which paper is best.
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Initial post: 12 Oct 2013 15:21:30 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Oct 2013 15:26:57 BDT
I need to read the book to decide whether I agree or not of course! But anyone who 'has a low opinion of politicians' is automatically a deeply insightful and intelligent human being given how they behave. Even the 'good' ones are usually in politics for the glory and what is so admirable about that? Disraeli gets some stick? There are enough people fawning over politicians so someone who cuts them down to (human) size is to be congratulated I feel. Disraeli may have shaped the political party but that is not so wonderful an achievement when you look at how imperfect and open to abuse the system is; it's not a meritocracy but a nepotistic nightmare of corruption and backhanders increasingly filled with career politicians from wealthy backgrounds who run things for their own benefit with little accountablity.
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Oct 2013 17:33:51 BDT
Hugh Sedon says:
Your comments certainly apply to recent politicians, but there was a time when they were more altruistic. This particularly applied to those affected by the First World War- perhaps up to MacMillan.
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